Wrexham Golf Co Ltd v Ingham UKEAT/0190/12/RN

This case involved the Golf Club’s appeal to the EAT against a Tribunal’s finding that Mr Ingham’s dismissal by reason of redundancy was unfair, due to a failure by the club to consider establishing a pool from which redundancies could be made. The club had identified only Mr Ingham as being at risk of redundancy because he occupied the unique role of Club Steward which was no longer required.

Referring to principles from existing case law on whether an employer has acted fairly in relation to selecting a pool, the EAT concluded that the range of reasonable responses test applies to such an analysis. The test applies to the question of whether it was reasonable for the employer to focus on the persons it identified as being at risk of redundancy. There will be occasions when it is reasonable to focus upon a single employee without considering the development of a pool. The EAT remitted the case to a fresh Tribunal so that the issue could be considered again with reference to the proper test. However, it gave a clear indication in doing so that it expected the Tribunal to find that the club had acted within the range of reasonable responses.

Implications

This decision confirms that an employer has a significant degree of latitude when it comes to identifying the appropriate pool for selection in a redundancy exercise.  Where a unique role is redundant, the employer may forego consideration of a pool altogether. However, in most cases it will remain wise for an employer to show that it genuinely put its mind to the issue of who should be put at risk and that it came to a reasoned conclusion on the issue.